I'm going to skip the usual excuses about it being a long time since I updated this blog. C'est la vie.
Okay. It's cold. Very cold. It got down to about -15C here or thereabouts over the New Year perion, and if we thought that it was a blip in the winter weather we were wrong. It's been fairly consistently below 0C and, here we are on 16th February and it was -7C last night. The loch we live beside has been frozen over for almost two months and although it threatened to defrost on one occasion, ol' Jack Frost soon sorted that out. When it had been solidly frozen for a few weeks Susie walked across it. I'll try to put a link to a small videoclip she made. Susie walking on Carbeth Loch In fact, when the temp rose to around -2C we actually thought it was quite mild!
So, what's new?
Matthew is serving somewhere in Afghanistan. We're not told where. Many friends and family and even people we don't know have sent him out parcels over Christmas. Thank you for that. We appreciate your kindness deeply. Around Christmas, he was almost snowed under with all the things you sent. I think it was a temporary problem. One of his colleagues, Tommy Brown, was killed just before Christmas. Not surprisingly, this had a terrible effect on his fellows who were with him. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been - and still is - for his family. How difficult to pick yourself up and go on after losing a young son, friend, brother or husband. I don't know much else about him other than that he is much missed.
We've only heard briefly from Matthew in these last few weeks and can only assume that he is busy with the current push forward of the coalition forces. However, the night before last Susie got a message through facebook from another lad telling us that he was alright. That was good news indeed.
There's little good news here, which I suppose is why I find this particular part of my blog hardest to write. My main difficulty is pain control. I have long-standing pain in the left side of my head. Through the kindness of a dear friend I was advised to seek a referral to a Professor of Palliative Care at the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow. The building is new, light and colourful. The staff couldn't have been nicer and the Prof. himself was kind and thorough. He explained something that I should have known: namely, that although I'm feeling the pain 'in' my head - the distribution of the pain indicates that it's the sensory nerves 'on' my head causing the problem (C2, I think). In a 35 minute consultation, he asked me lots of questions and then examined me to exclude an arthritic cause. Then he listed a fair number of drugs which could be of some value to me. This was the point that Susie, who'd asked if she could come along, almost disgraced herself! As the professor went through his list he mentioned on option with other connotations: methadone. This was too much for Susie who, having worked with addicts on the street in a very compassionate way, imagined me gaunt and hunched over like many of the poor souls we've had to deal with over the years. Susie exploded into laughter! The prof. looked at her as if to say "Is there something wrong with her?" Explanations followed and all was well, but dear, dear me....
Needless to say, I left the building with a prescription which I think is helping a bit. I'm trying to reduce one of the three drugs I'm on as I feel a bit spaced out some of the time, but I'll see how it goes.
A couple of times over the last few months I've found that a message has formed in my heart that I was keen to pass on to the Church. Interestingly enough, Alison, our minister in our Glasgow Church spoke to me a month or so ago saying that if I ever felt I could take part to let her know. So, a couple of /Sundays ago I spoke from that part of scripture where Peter says "Lord! Call me to come to you on the water!"
I wanted to convey the message that we don't have to wait until God speaks to us or in some way draws our attention (for He is always the source and initiative of all things good), but each person on this world has the ability within them to "call on the Name of the Lord". What will God say to you if you call on Him? and what would you call on Him for?